2014-08 - Requirements for issuing Organic Produce Certificates

Title: Requirements for issuing Organic Produce Certificates
Date issued: 24 November 2014
Date of Expiry: Until Further Notice
Distributed to: Approved Certifying Organisations
Last Notice in the category: 2014/05
Instruction issued under: Export Control (Organic Produce Certification) Orders
Contact details: NPG Exports


1. To re-confirm the requirements for issuing organic produce certificates for export.


2. The Department of Agriculture is the Australian central competent authority responsible for the export of prescribed goods, including products labelled as organic or biodynamic.

3. The legal instrument for exporting products certified as organic and biodynamic is the Export Control (Organic Produce Certification) Orders.  The basis under which exports of these goods can occur is compliance with the National Standard for Organic and Biodynamic Produce or importing country requirements.

4. Organic produce certificates provide importing countries with assurances that goods exported from Australia and labelled as organic or biodynamic comply with relevant standards and are truthfully labelled.

5. Australia currently has third country equivalency recognition with Japan, Taiwan, the European Union and Switzerland. Under these agreements, certain categories of goods can be exported to these markets provided compliance with the National Standard (with some exclusion) can be demonstrated.


Product to which arrangements apply

Equivalence provisions

European Union

Plant and plant products exported as food (excluding wine and yeast)

National Standard. Prohibits the use of imported organic plant products.


Plant and plant based products (excluding wine)

National Standard. Prohibits the use of:

  1. homeopathic preparations for use in soil fertilising and soil conditioning.
  2. wetting agents whose ingredients are not listed in the Codex "guidelines for the production, processing, labelling and marketing of organically produced foods", table 2 of annex 2.
  3. disodium diphosphate, ammonium phosphate and ammonium sulphate as food additives.


Plant and plant products exported as food (excluding wine and yeast)

National Standard.  Prohibits the use of imported organic plant products.


Plant and plant products and animal and animal products, including livestock (excluding offal and bones)

National Standard. Zero tolerance for residues.


6. The department reconfirms the requirements underpinning the issue of organic produce certificates for Australian origin plant and plant products. The certifying organisation must only issue the organic produce certificate and endorse the declaration on the certificate, only after:

  1. Performing a risk assessment on certified products being exported.  Any declarations or operator certificates must be verified in accordance with a risk-based assessment process to validate the authenticity of these declarations or certificates for the consignment concerned.
  2. Full traceability on all organic products listed on the organic produce certificate has been conducted; including documentary check of all relevant inspection documents, in particular transport documents (e.g. Bill of Lading) and commercial documents (e.g. invoice) and any operator records.
  3. A physical check of the export consignment or has an explicit signed declaration from the exporter declaring the consignment concerned has been produced and/or prepared in accordance the National Standard for Organic and Bio-Dynamic Produce.
  4. Reviewed all relevant export documentation such as batch, reference, quantity, type of goods included in the consignment.
  5. Organic produce certificates must only be issued in accordance with importing country requirements.


7. Approved certifying organisations are instructed to:

  1. Document and implement a risk management program for:
    1. verifying authenticity of declarations including full traceability of products;
    2. certified operators supplying organic products for export.
  2. Not issue an organic produce certificate if a risk assessment and traceability process on the certified products in an export consignment have not been performed;
  3. Document and implement a system for the issue and reconciliation for organic produce certificates and make this information available for exporters/operators;
  4. Ensure the end-of-the month report for all organic produce certificates is provided to the department.
  5. Immediately notify the department when issues affecting market access and organic produce certificates arise.
  6. Maintain up to date and accurate records on all shipments of organic and biodynamic products to all overseas markets for review.
Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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